Piaras Feiritéir cct. (circ. 1652)

Do-ċuala sgéal do ċéas ar ló mé,
Is ṫug san oiḋċe i ndaoirse ḃróin mé,
D’ḟág mo ċreat gan neart mná seolta.
Gan ḃríġ, gan ṁeaḃair, gan ġreann, gan fóġnaṁ.

Aḋḃar maoiṫe sgaoileaḋ an sgeoil sin,
Cás gan leiġeas is aḋnaḋ tóirse,
Aṫ-nuaḋaḋ luit is uilc is eolċair,
Gríosuġaḋ taoḋma is treiġde móire.

Díoṫuġaḋ buiḋne críċe Fódla,
Laguġaḋ grinn is gnaoi na cóige,
Mar do díogaḋ ar ndaoine móra
As a ḃfearannaiḃ cairte is córa.

Mór an sgéal, ní féidir fólaing
Ar ndíṫe do ríoṁ lem’ ló-sa,
Fuair an ḟéile léan ‘na ḋeoiḋ sin,
Is tá an daonnacṫ gaċ lae dá leonaḋ.

Ní ḟuil cliar i n-iaṫaiḃ Fóḋla,
Ní ḟuil aifrinn againn ná órda,
Ní ḟuil baiste ar na leanḃaiḃ óga,
Gan fear seasaiṁ ná tagarṫa a gcóra.

Créad do ḋéanfaḋ ar n-aos óga
Is ná fuil neaċ re maiṫ dá ḃfóirṫint?
Atáid gan triaṫ aċt Dia na glóire,
Is a bpríoṁ-ál dá ngríosáil tar bóċna.

Gearán m’aigniḋ dearḃ na sgeol sin,
Gaḃáil ġarḃ na n-eaċtrann óirnne,
Maiṫ ‘ḟios agam an t-aḋḃar fá’r órduiġ,
D’aiṫle ar bpeacaḋ an t-Aṫair do ḋeonuiġ.


Do ḃeiṫ neart is ceart is cróḋaċt,
Do ḃeiṫ smaċt is reaċt fá ró-ċion,
Do ḃeiṫ raṫ ar ar san ḃfóġṁar,
Dá mbieṫ Dia le triaṫaiḃ Fódla.

D’imṫiġ Brian na gcliar ó’n mBóirṁe,
Do ḃí tréiṁse ag Éirinn pósta;
Níl Murċaḋ cumasaċ cróḋa
I gCluain Tairḃ ba ṫaca le coṁlann.

San tráṫ fá láidir na treoin sin,
Clann Ċárrṫaiġ san Tál-ḟuil treoraċ,
Níor sgaoileadar Gaoiḋil dá ḃfógraḋ
Tar tuinn nó gaċ láṫair teorann.

Atáid na Danair i leabaiḋ na leoṁan,
Go seasgair ráṁ go sáḋail seomraċ,
Bríoġṁar biaḋṁar briaṫraċ bórdṁar,
Coiṁiġṫeaċ cainnteaċ sainnteaċ srónaċ.


Is é rún ‘s fonn na fóirne,
Dá ṁéid ríṫ do ġníḋ re ar bpór-ne,
An drong ḃíos ag ríḋteaċ leo againn,
Súgraḋ cluiċí an ċuitín ċróḋa.

Is truaġ lem’ ċroiḋe ‘s is tinn dár ndrólann
Nuaċar Ċuinn, Ċríoṁṫain, is Eoġain,
Suas gaċ oiḋċe ag luiġe re deoraiḋṫiḃ
‘S gan luaḋ ar a cloinn do ḃí aici pórta.

Teaċ Tuaṫail, monuar, do tóirneaḋ,
Is cró Ċuinn gan cuiṁne ar nósaiḃ,
Fonn Féiḋlime go tréiṫ-lag tóirseaċ,
Iaṫ Iuġuine go brúiġte brónaċ.

Aċaḋ Airt fá ċeas gan sóġaċas,
Críoċ Ċoḃṫaiġ fá uġaim ag slóiġtiḃ,
Clár Ċormaic fáiḋ foirtill na gcoṁ-ḟocal,
Fá’n onċoin lán d’ḟoṫram deoraċ.

Mo léan, ní hé tréine na slóġ sin,
Ná buirbe na fuirne ó Ḋóḃer,
Ná neart naiṁde do ċaill ar ndóċas,
Aċt díoġaltas Dé tá ar Éirinn fód-ġlais


Cioḋ tá an eang so teann ag tórmaċ
Fá láiṁ leaḃair na nGall so nóḋ againn,
Áilim Aon-Ṁac tréan na hÓiġe
Go dtigiḋ an Ceart san alt ‘nar ċóir ḋó.

Is bíoḋgaḋ báis liom bás mo ċoṁursan,
Na saoiṫe sáṁa sásta seolta,
I dtír ba ġnáṫaċ lán de ṫóḃaċt
Ite, Vade dá ráḋ leo-san.

Is gan aċt cáirde ó ló go ló aca
Dá gcuir uile i dtuilleaḋ dóċais
Go mbeiṫ fáḃar dá ḟaġḃáil dóiḃ sin
Is gan ann aċt ‘Till further orders.’

Galar gan téarnaḋ is maoṫċas mór liom,
Greamanna daor-ḃáis cé táim glóraċ,
Sgaipeaḋ ar an ḃféinn dár ġéill clár Fódla,
Is eaglais Dé dá claoċlóḋ ar órdaiḃ.

Tá sgéiṁ na gréine go nóna
Fá éiclips ó éirgé ló di,
Tá na spéarṫa i ngné dá ḟógraḋ
Ná fuil téarma ar saoġail ró-ḟada.

Fuair an ċáirdeas spás a dóṫain,
Le luċt séad ní géar an sgeol sin,
Ní léir dom aoinneaċ ar m’eolas
Noċ do ḃéaraḋ réal ċum bróg dam.

Fágḃaim sin ar ċur an Ċoṁaċtaiġ,
Aon-Ṁac Muire gile móire,
Ar a ḃfuil ar n-uile-ḋóċas,
Go ḃfuiġeaḋ siḃ-se is mise cóṫrom.

Is aiṫċim Íosa, Rí na glóire,
Mar is fíor gur tríd sin d’ḟóġnas,
Saoillse laoi agus oiḋċe d’órdiġ,
Go dtigiḋ an ní mar ṡílim dóiḃ sin.

By Pierce Ferriter (circ. 1652)

A tale I’ve heard that hath tortured me by day
And in the night in grief hath plunged me,
Left my loins without the strength of a woman child-delivered,
Left me forceless, mindless, joyless, bereft of faculty.

A cause of anguish is the publishing of that tale,
Woe incurable and kindling of sorrow,
Renewal of bloodshed and misery and evil,
An excitation of fever-strife and agonies:

The destruction of the people of the land of Fódla,
The decline of the joy and happiness of the countryside,
The rooting-up of our great nobles
From the lands which were theirs by law and justice.

Great the tale—nay, it were not possible
In a lifetime to recite the wrongs endured:
Generosity hath suffered sorrow for it,
Every day Humanity is wounded.

There are no priests in the fields of Fódla,
No Masses have we nor any orders,
Our little children are unbaptised,
No man to stand for or plead their rights.

What shall our young folk do
Since none there is to give them kindly help?
No lord they have but the God of Glory,
And the flower of their flock are driven beyond the sea.

My mind lamenteth for the certainty of those tidings—
The rude conquest of us by the outlanders;
Well do I know why it hath been ordained:
To requite our sins the Father hath willed it.


Strength and right and valour would reign,
Order and law would be highly prized,
Rich and abundant would be the corn in the harvest time
If God were with the chiefs of Fódla.

Brian of the bands hath left his Tributes,
He who once was Ireland’s mate;
No longer is Murrough the strong, the valiant,
In Clontarf, the stay of every fight.

In the day when those stalwart ones were mighty—
Clann Carthy and the leader-like Dalcassians—
The Gael were not being proscribed and banished
Beyond the sea and every frontier.

Pirates rule in the place of the princes,
In comfort, in case, in luxury, in spacious palaces,
Full of strength, full of food, full of words, well-feasting,
Uncouth, gabbling, greedy, cynical.

The aim and desire of the crew is,
However they may make peace with our people,
To play with those of us that accept terms from them,
The tricks of the redoubtable cat with the mouse!

My heart grieveth, my bowels are compassionate
That the spouse of Conn, of Criomhthan, and of Owen,
Should lie every night with strangers
And that her own who were mated with her are no longer commemmorated.

The House of Tuathal, alas, hath been over-thrown,
The Hold of Conn remembereth not its traditions,
The Land of Féidhlim is weary and worn out,
The Country of Iughuine is crushed and sorrowful.

The Field of Art oppressed and joyless,
The Territory of Cobhthach under the yoke of armies,
The Plain of wise, strong, soothsaying Cormac
Trampled by the leopard, full of tearful lamentation.

Alas, ‘tis not the might of those armies,
Not the fierceness of the crew from Dover,
Not the strength of enemies that hath blasted our hope,
But God’s vengeance upon green-sodded Ireland!


Altho’ this land so strong in bursting into birth
Be under the long arm of these new-come Galls,
I beseech the valiant Son of the Virgin
That Right may come to the place that is its due.

A death’s pang to me is the death of my neighbours,
The pleasant, gracious, ever-ready gentle-folk—
In a land that once was full of abundance
The word for them is Ite, Vade.

They have no respite but from day to day
Which filleth them with a new hope
That some grace may be obtained for them:
But ‘tis only ‘Till further orders.’

A disease that hath no cure, a terrible unmanning,
The throes of death (altho’ still I speak),
Such to me is the scattering of the heroes whom Fódla honoured,
And God’s Church transformed from her ordinances.

The beauty of the sun till evening
Is eclipsed from the very rise of day,
The aspect of the heavens warneth us
That the term of our life is but short.

Friendship hath reigned long enough—
To the wealthy that is welcome tidings:
I know not one in all my acquaintance
Who would give me sixpence to buy brogues!

I refer it to the All-Powerful,
To the One Son of great white Mary,
To Whom is all our hope,
That ye and I may get justice.

And I beseech Jesus, King of Glory,
Since it is through Him that I have prospered,
Him who hath ordained day and night,
That the thing that I think may happen to them!


Pierce Ferriter was one of the most gallant figures in the Ireland of his day. Chief of his house, the Ferriters of Ballyferriter, he drew sword for Ireland in 1641, and was the last of the Confederate leaders to hold out against the Cromwellian armies. He co-operated with Finnghin MacCarthy in the capture of Castlemaine (1641), succeeded to the chief command, took Tralee Castle (1642), and maintained himself in Corca Dhuibhne until 1653. In that year, after the fall of Ross Castle, he came, upon invitation of Brigadier Nelson, and under promise of safe conduct, to Killarney, to discuss terms of peace. He rejected the English terms and set out for home, trusting to Nelson’s ‘safe conduct.’ But in spite of the ‘safe conduct’ Nelson had him seized at Castlemaine, brought back to Killarney, and hanged.

Ferriter’s poems were collected and edited by the Rev. P. S. Dineen for the Gaelic League in 1903; and in the foregoing text I substantially follow Father Dinneen. (For reasons of space I omit six stanzas and the Ceangal of No. XIV.) The quatrain on Owen Roe shows that Ferriter was one of the Irish chiefs who from the outbreak of the war looked to that great soldier, then on the Continent, as Ireland’s deliverer. The poem on the Cromwellian Clearances, which reads flatly enough in a literal translation, is in the original thunderous with assonance and liquid with alliteration: it is like a waterfall. Ferriter was a poet of very versatile culture: his love and satirical poems have the grace and deftness of Moore.